Wednesday 22 June 2016

Europe - we have our say

Sometimes life overtakes television, alas, and we have had little time for the many new series springing up all over the screen.  Ali's heroine is Alison Graham, who despite watching TV and writing about it for a living, must nonetheless manage to cram about 90 hours into her day.  We have caught up with a few of the terrestrial offerings and they are overwhelmingly... European.  No doubt the Johnson camp will quip that summer is the traditional graveyard for inferior programming.  We'd like to differ, but on the evidence of the recent and current crop, it's going to be a struggle.

So, for a round-up, we began with 'Locked Up', a sort of Spanish 'Prisoner Cell Block H' which blazed a trail in broadcasting terms by airing the first episode on a terrestrial channel and then releasing the rest online.  It wasn't bad, and we can believe it got better, but catty women in orange uniforms weren't enough to drag us online to see more of them.

Then came 'Dicte - Crime Reporter' which is as cheesy as its title suggests.  We're sure this is considered serious drama because it happens to be subtitled.  Imagine the same scenes with the 80s American gloss of, say, 'Wonder Woman', or 'Murder She Wrote' and that's more the credibility level.  What worked with the kitsch 1950s-set noir last year just seems rather odd as a supposedly grittier modern-day piece.

'Disparu' was a lot like 'The Killing', but set in Lyon.  Spoilt young Lea Morel goes missing and everyone's a suspect.  Rolled out quite well over eight episodes shown in four blocks, but the ending was contrived and opened more questions than it answered.  Why was Lea so upset about her boyfriend's infidelity when she had been carrying on an affair of her own?  How did the smart cops believe that Lea's loving uncle would just suddenly flip and batter her because she was crying?  Would he and his daughter cover up a genuine accident, disposing of the body and managing to keep their stories straight through weeks of interrogations by the murder squad?  As is so often the case, this was rather less than the sum of its parts.

And last, and probably least, comes 'Versailles'.  There are many fascinating tales of the Sun King's court, but this curious Anglo-French hybrid favours sex, violence and terrible dialogue.  And then more sex.  Should we leave Europe, France will no doubt cease to fund dramas like this, which is the only decent argument for Brexit we've heard yet.  An example of Louis XIV, to his sister-in-law and mistress, Henriette: "Our lives have blossomed in summer, but now the nights are drawing in...."  We suspect if the real Louis had said any such thing, Henriette would have lost her head for laughing at her king.  We'd rather re-read 'The Man in the Iron Mask' than watch another episode of this.  'Rome' and 'The Tudors' have a lot to answer for.

No comments:

Post a Comment